Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke $$

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )

Duke or Columbia

Poll ended at Tue Aug 01, 2017 12:58 pm

Duke
42
78%
Columbia
12
22%
 
Total votes: 54

grades??
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke $$

Postby grades?? » Sat Jul 29, 2017 6:13 pm

Besides everyone already pointing out how Columbia is no way worth the extra 120k, if you are even thinking Texas, its an easy decision for Duke. Duke places extremely well in Texas.

Honestly you just want us to justify your already made up mind. Go to Columbia, but its not worth the extra 120k, especially if you aren't committed to going to a v5 corporate practice in NYC.

Edit: Also, the vast majority of my classmates and I at Duke took a larger scholarship to go to Duke and turned down our acceptances from Columbia. Given the almost identical employment outcomes, and almost identical prestige level, I chose two years plus of free tuition rather than nothing at Columbia. You are facing an almost identical situation yourself. Only you can make the call whether 2 years of tuition free in a lower cost of living city with almost equivalent everything else is worth turning down.

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jbagelboy
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke $$

Postby jbagelboy » Sat Jul 29, 2017 6:28 pm

lawdude321 wrote:****Update

Columbia did not give me any $$$ in response. I am flying into Raleigh tomorrow to check Duke out on Monday. Money I have is savings. I really appreciate the insights everyone is providing.

Little more background on me and what I want after law school...like most people going to law school this is subject to change as you learn more about practicing law. Most of what I know is based on this site.

Background
-Finance Major, graduated in December
-Finance Analyst at Fortune 50 company for 3 years in school (30+ hours per week...not intern level work...most of my peers were 40+)
-Found it boring and extremely easy work
-Looked at IB positions, but really wanted to move away from finance. Studied it because my dad pushed me to

Understanding on Real Wold
IBankers, Consultants, Law Associates are all monkeys. Just with different monkey tasks. Much of the corporate associate work seems similar to IB in that you are working on M&A activity, but instead of making models in excel and producing pitch books you are reading through documents, fixing errors and doing due diligence work. Corporate lawyers have a lower cap than those going into finance. Both sound terrible and like shitty lifestyles for having any semblance of a good work/life balance.

Being an litigation associate also sounds like monkey work. From what I have gathered it is doc review, research, etc. You have a better line of sight to what is coming so can worry less about having stuff dropped in your lap at 9pm on a Monday as you are heading out of the office. Hours are brutal when trial is coming up, but at least you knew it was coming. Very few people in biglaw litigation get to do more intellectually challenging work like taking depositions and going into court, until they are a senior associate or partner. Exit opportunities are government or lateraling too a smaller firm so less $$$ in the equation than corporate law. The government work (ideally DOJ, but know it is extremely competitive) and working at a smaller firm as a litigation partner sounds intellectually challenging (maybe even enjoyable) and that you have the ability to have balance. These exit opportunities sound a lot more interesting than those afforded to a corporate lawyer.

Where I Think I want to Live
I grew up in Socal and went to Texas for undergrad. I don't really like socal-too expensive and overrated. I loved Texas (did not think i would when I first moved, originally told my dad I was never moving to a "backwards state like TX"), have lots of friends there, and cost of living is incredible. I am friendly with at least one partner at all the major Texas firms so ties are strongest there. Issue I don't like with Texas is that people see this as below NYC, DC, LA, SF. I probably should not care about this, but I am competitive and feel like I would be settling by not attempting NYC/DC as Texas is less "prestigious". The type of work in DC seems most in line with my passions, but I have no ties and I understand how difficult it is to get there. NYC seems like a cool place to live a few years, but I do not see it long-term unless I end up killing it. I also see it as "cheaper" for me to be in NYC as a law student than as an associate. The amount I lose to taxes and cost of living as an NYC associate for 2-3 years vs. TX associate is about equal to the 120k extra I am spending as a law student. I feel like I would be able to enjoy the city more as a law student than as law firm associate.

Way I see my path right now is if I am in the top 3rd of my class at Columbia or Duke I would try my luck in NYC or DC. If I kill it, I stay...If I don't I lateral to Texas. If I am below the top 3rd I head to Texas. Most "prestigious" law opportunities are now out of reach. I can make killer money for Texas and enjoy a better work/life balance than NYC/DC.

Way I view my Decision right now
I am lean Columbia, but far from committed. I loved my visit, I have been envisioning myself in NYC for months now, I have friends in the city (I know I want see them much, but good relief from law school every once in a while), and it is a more prestigious school...I want to see how I can stack up against the best competition. The 120k difference in the grand scheme of life as a lawyer I don't think is that big of a deal...probably worst case is one year more of work until retirement. I don't live a very lavish lifestyle (I hate "stuff", I am unsure on kids, and have ties to a low COL area where I would be happy if I end up). I think I will always ask "What-if" if I went to Duke, while I wouldn't if I went to Columbia. Super snobby of me, but I always felt "less" than many of my friends in college for going to a lower ranked school because it was so cheap than going to some of the "higher-ranked", "ivy-caliber" school. Much of my identity (for better or worse) is tied to my success in education and work.

I view Columbia as giving me a slight edge with everything. Above posters are right they have the same BL/FC rates, but seems like the quality is a bit less for Duke graduates. I think a Columbia name gives me an edge on DOJ work (which is probably my largest goal going into law school). Duke I have almost double the chance of making law review and there are other benefits to a smaller class size. My perspective in location livability before I visit is NYC>Durham.


Appreciate people pointing out flaws in my thinking. If you think I said something idiotic call it out. If you can see how Columbia could make more sense in my case I appreciate that as well. Sorry for the long AF post, but I really do appreciate you reading it

Sorry for any spelling/grammar mistakes...had to write this quickly as I am packing crap up.


They don't have the same bl/fc rates. Five or ten year averages on the schools show your earlier assessment is pretty spot on (small advantage to CLS in most respects). Whether one firm does better at any one firm is not the point. To go to W&C you have to be top of the class at either school (or any school for that matter). You can't judge that way. CLS is certainly not worth $120 over Duke but it is worth something speaking strictly in terms of professional opportunities. If CLS doesn't budge you have to go to Duke. But let's be clear what we're weighing here. Good luck with your visit

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Lavitz
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke $$

Postby Lavitz » Sat Jul 29, 2017 6:37 pm

lawdude321 wrote:Appreciate people pointing out flaws in my thinking. If you think I said something idiotic call it out. If you can see how Columbia could make more sense in my case I appreciate that as well. Sorry for the long AF post, but I really do appreciate you reading it

Ok then.

You probably already know this is coming, but you are way too obsessed with this nonexistent "prestige" you think being in NYC / Columbia confers. The only people who will look down on working in TX are probably just people in NYC. Best I can tell, you seem to be saying you'd rather be miserable at a more prestigious NYC firm so that your friends in NYC think more highly of you instead of just enjoying life in Texas. I'd suggest re-evaluating how much you care about what other people think. Also pretty sure everyone in Texas will think less of you for working in NYC anyway. And the difference in "prestige" between Columbia and Duke is negligible, especially outside NYC.

Besides the fact that firms at the top of the meaningless Vault rankings are in NYC, I don't know what prestigious positions you think exist in NYC but not TX. I think you're overestimating NYC too much. If you "kill it" at law school, your goal shouldn't be aiming to be another associate in a gigantic NYC law firm. Maybe if you wanted to prosecute white-collar crime as an AUSA or work at the SEC, then I could see wanting do litigation specifically in NYC. Otherwise, I just don't get it.

DC, on the other hand, I can understand because of the type of work that's available only there. But I'd disagree that it's easier from Columbia than from Duke. I've seen no evidence of the Columbia name giving an edge over Duke on anything DOJ-related, and demonstrated commitment to government work seems more important. In fact, if DOJ is your top goal, the most common path is through DOJ Honors, which you can't do if you worked in biglaw after graduation. You'd have to apply during 3L or during a post-grad clerkship. So if you decide that's what you want to do, you'd have to pay off the 120K on a government salary instead of just wiping it out after 2 years of biglaw. Not to mention clerking will help you get the job, and Duke's got the better post-grad clerkship numbers. (Yeah, I know, self-selection, but at the very least they seem to have a better clerkship office.)

But if you want to spend over $120,000 to (1) live in NYC instead of Durham for 3 years, and (2) feel like you're more prestigious, then that's your choice. But Columbia's not going to give you anything more than a negligible boost for your goals, so I wouldn't pretend otherwise in order to justify the decision.

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proteinshake
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke $$

Postby proteinshake » Sat Jul 29, 2017 6:39 pm

OP, if you want a list of where Duke grads ended up by firm name/location/clerkship, PM me. they gave them out at ASD.

AspiringAspirant
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke $$

Postby AspiringAspirant » Sat Jul 29, 2017 6:47 pm

Lavitz wrote:
lawdude321 wrote:Appreciate people pointing out flaws in my thinking. If you think I said something idiotic call it out. If you can see how Columbia could make more sense in my case I appreciate that as well. Sorry for the long AF post, but I really do appreciate you reading it

Ok then.

You probably already know this is coming, but you are way too obsessed with this nonexistent "prestige" you think being in NYC / Columbia confers. The only people who will look down on working in TX are probably just people in NYC. Best I can tell, you seem to be saying you'd rather be miserable at a more prestigious NYC firm so that your friends in NYC think more highly of you instead of just enjoying life in Texas. I'd suggest re-evaluating how much you care about what other people think. Also pretty sure everyone in Texas will think less of you for working in NYC anyway. And the difference in "prestige" between Columbia and Duke is negligible, especially outside NYC.

Besides the fact that firms at the top of the meaningless Vault rankings are in NYC, I don't know what prestigious positions you think exist in NYC but not TX. I think you're overestimating NYC too much. If you "kill it" at law school, your goal shouldn't be aiming to be another associate in a gigantic NYC law firm. Maybe if you wanted to prosecute white-collar crime as an AUSA or work at the SEC, then I could see wanting do litigation specifically in NYC. Otherwise, I just don't get it.

DC, on the other hand, I can understand because of the type of work that's available only there. But I'd disagree that it's easier from Columbia than from Duke. I've seen no evidence of the Columbia name giving an edge over Duke on anything DOJ-related, and demonstrated commitment to government work seems more important. In fact, if DOJ is your top goal, the most common path is through DOJ Honors, which you can't do if you worked in biglaw after graduation. You'd have to apply during 3L or during a post-grad clerkship. So if you decide that's what you want to do, you'd have to pay off the 120K on a government salary instead of just wiping it out after 2 years of biglaw. Not to mention clerking will help you get the job, and Duke's got the better post-grad clerkship numbers. (Yeah, I know, self-selection, but at the very least they seem to have a better clerkship office.)

But if you want to spend over $120,000 to (1) live in NYC instead of Durham for 3 years, and (2) feel like you're more prestigious, then that's your choice. But Columbia's not going to give you anything more than a negligible boost for your goals, so I wouldn't pretend otherwise in order to justify the decision.


Agree with this whole post. And if you can't be moved on placing such importance on prestige, I really want to emphasize the bolded above. There are only a few schools that are notably more prestigious than Duke. Columbia is not one of them. Don't pay 120k for faux prestige points.

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Dcc617
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke $$

Postby Dcc617 » Sun Jul 30, 2017 9:20 am

I'd also heavily reconsider blowing $100K+ in savings for law school. That's retirement, down payment on a house, etc. It's a crazy amount of money to just spend and even with a biglaw job it'll take years to get back to that level. So think about it, especially if your family isn't wealthy.

It seems like you're already doing pretty well for yourself without a law degree. Most people don't like biglaw. So you'd be blowing all of your savings to do a job you probably won't like so you can try to get your finances back to the state you have them in now. I'd only even consider that if you want to be a lawyer for compelling reasons. Your plan seems weird.

In other words, a law degree doesn't seem like value added for you, and you'd be way better off investing your savings and pursuing another career path that doesn't require a very expensive degree.

ETA just reread your goals and am now sure that you should reconsider law school. A federal clerkship is a one year job, biglaw litigation doesn't make sense for you as I described earlier, and "running for office" doesn't require a law degree. So unless there is some specific reason why you MUST go DOJ, then don't go. It'd be dumb.

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chargers21
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke $$

Postby chargers21 » Sun Jul 30, 2017 11:50 am

Yeah, I would also reconsider law school. You seem to already have a high paying job that you find boring. That's big law. Why pay to be in the same position? If you have more focused, interesting goals that law school will help with, by all means mention then. But otherwise I would sit down and think about whether you want to waste time to get to the same place you are now.

Duke >CLS btw

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Wild Card
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke $$

Postby Wild Card » Sun Jul 30, 2017 11:37 pm

When you're visiting, meet with the dean and ask Duke to raise from $90,000 to $120,000.

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emkay625
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke $$

Postby emkay625 » Mon Jul 31, 2017 11:12 am

lawdude321 wrote:****Update

Columbia did not give me any $$$ in response. I am flying into Raleigh tomorrow to check Duke out on Monday. Money I have is savings. I really appreciate the insights everyone is providing.

Little more background on me and what I want after law school...like most people going to law school this is subject to change as you learn more about practicing law. Most of what I know is based on this site.

Background
-Finance Major, graduated in December
-Finance Analyst at Fortune 50 company for 3 years in school (30+ hours per week...not intern level work...most of my peers were 40+)
-Found it boring and extremely easy work
-Looked at IB positions, but really wanted to move away from finance. Studied it because my dad pushed me to

Understanding on Real Wold
IBankers, Consultants, Law Associates are all monkeys. Just with different monkey tasks. Much of the corporate associate work seems similar to IB in that you are working on M&A activity, but instead of making models in excel and producing pitch books you are reading through documents, fixing errors and doing due diligence work. Corporate lawyers have a lower cap than those going into finance. Both sound terrible and like shitty lifestyles for having any semblance of a good work/life balance.

Being an litigation associate also sounds like monkey work. From what I have gathered it is doc review, research, etc. You have a better line of sight to what is coming so can worry less about having stuff dropped in your lap at 9pm on a Monday as you are heading out of the office. Hours are brutal when trial is coming up, but at least you knew it was coming. Very few people in biglaw litigation get to do more intellectually challenging work like taking depositions and going into court, until they are a senior associate or partner. Exit opportunities are government or lateraling too a smaller firm so less $$$ in the equation than corporate law. The government work (ideally DOJ, but know it is extremely competitive) and working at a smaller firm as a litigation partner sounds intellectually challenging (maybe even enjoyable) and that you have the ability to have balance. These exit opportunities sound a lot more interesting than those afforded to a corporate lawyer.

Where I Think I want to Live
I grew up in Socal and moved to Texas for undergrad. I don't really like socal-too expensive and overrated. I loved Texas (did not think i would when I first moved, originally told my dad I was never moving to a "backwards state like TX"), have lots of friends there, and cost of living is incredible. I am friendly with at least one partner at all the major Texas firms so ties are strongest there. Issue I don't like with Texas is that people see this as below NYC, DC, LA, SF. I probably should not care about this, but I am competitive and feel like I would be settling by not attempting NYC/DC as Texas is less "prestigious". The type of work in DC seems most in line with my passions, but I have no ties and I understand how difficult it is to get there. NYC seems like a cool place to live a few years, but I do not see it long-term unless I end up killing it. I also see it as "cheaper" for me to be in NYC as a law student than as an associate. The amount I lose to taxes and cost of living as an NYC associate for 2-3 years vs. TX associate is about equal to the 120k extra I am spending as a law student. I feel like I would be able to enjoy the city more as a law student than as law firm associate.

Way I see my path right now is if I am in the top 3rd of my class at Columbia or Duke I would try my luck in NYC or DC. If I kill it, I stay...If I don't I lateral to Texas. If I am below the top 3rd I head to Texas. Most "prestigious" law opportunities are now out of reach. I can make killer money for Texas and enjoy a better work/life balance than NYC/DC.

Way I view my Decision right now
I am lean Columbia, but far from committed. I loved my visit, I have been envisioning myself in NYC for months now, I have friends in the city (I know I want see them much, but good relief from law school every once in a while), and it is a more prestigious school...I want to see how I can stack up against the best competition. The 120k difference in the grand scheme of life as a lawyer I don't think is that big of a deal...probably worst case is one year more of work until retirement. I don't live a very lavish lifestyle (I hate "stuff", I am unsure on kids, and have ties to a low COL area where I would be happy if I end up). I think I will always ask "What-if" if I went to Duke, while I wouldn't if I went to Columbia. Super snobby of me, but I always felt "less" than many of my friends in college for going to a lower ranked school because it was so cheap than going to some of the "higher-ranked", "ivy-caliber" school. Much of my identity (for better or worse) is tied to my success in education and work.

I view Columbia as giving me a slight edge with everything. Above posters are right they have the same BL/FC rates, but seems like the quality is a bit less for Duke graduates. I think a Columbia name gives me an edge on DOJ work (which is probably my largest goal going into law school). Duke I have almost double the chance of making law review and there are other benefits to a smaller class size. My perspective in location livability before I visit is NYC>Durham.


Appreciate people pointing out flaws in my thinking. If you think I said something idiotic call it out. If you can see how Columbia could make more sense in my case I appreciate that as well. Sorry for the long AF post, but I really do appreciate you reading it

Sorry for any spelling/grammar mistakes...had to write this quickly as I am packing crap up.


Do you know how much I think about whether or not people in NYC/DC/SF/LA see me as "below" them while I sit in my 1300 sq. foot apartment with a doorman, hardwood floors, brand new stainless steel appliances, exposed brick walls, a massive claw foot tub, and a new pool LESS THAN TWO BLOCKS from my downtown office in Houston that I pay less than $2000 a month for?

Not one goddamn bit.

sev
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke $$

Postby sev » Mon Jul 31, 2017 2:30 pm

emkay625 wrote:Do you know how much I think about whether or not people in NYC/DC/SF/LA see me as "below" them while I sit in my 1300 sq. foot apartment with a doorman, hardwood floors, brand new stainless steel appliances, exposed brick walls, a massive claw foot tub, and a new pool LESS THAN TWO BLOCKS from my downtown office in Houston that I pay less than $2000 a month for?

Not one goddamn bit.

(Unrelated note: this is the kind of perspective I love hearing--the perspective that makes abstract concepts like "prestige" eminently concrete.)

lawdude321
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke $$

Postby lawdude321 » Tue Aug 01, 2017 1:21 pm

Decided on Duke. I really appreciate everyone's opinions and advice. Money was too hard to pass up, I liked the law school and Duke itself. Will take some time to adjust to durham, but I think it will do for 3 years.

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Lavitz
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke $$

Postby Lavitz » Tue Aug 01, 2017 1:29 pm

You have chosen wisely. Congrats and good luck.

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Nebby
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke $$

Postby Nebby » Tue Aug 01, 2017 6:46 pm

Lavitz wrote:You have chosen wisely. Congrats and good luck.




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